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Don Granato No Longer Behind the Bench in Buffalo

The Buffalo Sabres have decided to relieve Don Granato and some of his staff of their duties. This is following a disappointing showing for the Sabres in the regular season. The Sabres came into 2023-24 with thoughts of contending for a playoff position. However, they could never really figure it out. They will finish with a 39-37-6 record, good for sixth in the NHL’s Atlantic Division. This puts them around six to eight points out of the playoffs depending on how the final couple days shakedown. Additionally, this marks the 13th straight NHL season the Sabres failed to make the postseason.

The Buffalo Sabres Have Fired Now Former Head Coach Don Granato and Others

Along with Head Coach Don Granato being fired, Assistant Coach Jason Christie, and video coordinator Matt Smith were also let go. This does allow them to get a jump start on other vacant positions. It’s tough to speculate whether Granato’s time in Western New York will hurt his odds of finding another head coaching gig in the NHL, and soon.

The Sabres Will Need a New Head Coach

The Buffalo Sabres have struggled to find something that works behind the bench since the days of Lindy Ruff. Ruff’s tenure with Buffalo lasted between 1997 and 2013, amassing 1165 NHL regular season contests. Conversely, since that time, Granato was the sixth man to hold the reigns when he came aboard in 2021. In addition, he had previously been an assistant in Buffalo before he replaced Ralph Krueger who was fired in March of 2021.

Granato was the most tenured of the other options since Ruff left town. He coached 274 games with a 122-125-27 record as the Buffalo bench boss. Before coming to Buffalo, Granato did put in his time climbing the ranks and it was thought he was ready for a full-time NHL head coach job. Most notably of his other roles, between 2013 and 2016, he was in charge of the USA’s infamous National Team Development Program. Now the Sabres and General Manager Kevyn Adams can begin the search, along with other teams looking for a new coach, such as divisional rival, the Ottawa Senators. Some options available, that were likewise fired this season, include names like Todd McClellan or Jay Woodcroft.

Main photo: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports


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